Vietnam pushes open-source software for government use

The Vietnamese government will move to several open-source applications by the end of next year as the country also tries to reduce the use of pirated software.

Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications has mandated that applications such as the OpenOffice.org productivity suite, Firefox browser, Thunderbird e-mail client and UniKey Vietnamese keyboard client be installed at government agencies by the end of June, according to a report by Wednesday VietnamNet, a government-owned news agency. The ministry published the original order on Dec. 30.

At least half of the employees at those agencies should be able to use the programs by the June deadline, VietnamNet reported. By the end of 2009, 70 percent of the workstations in local state agencies should have the software installed, with 40 percent of employees proficient in their use. Vietnam is aiming for all employees to be trained to use the applications by the end of 2010.

PC sellers have also been ordered not to install pirated software on computers sold to state organizations, part of a multi-year push by Vietnam to stop the use of unlicensed software.

Vietnam has put a priority in recent years on promoting the use of open-source software with an eye to developing its own software outsourcing industry.

In 2004, Vietnam approved a four-year plan that called for training in open-source software to be promoted in universities and government agencies along with participation in international open-source software organizations.

One Vietnamese software development outsourcing company, VietSoft, is a member of Asianux, a consortium dedicated to developing Linux that includes Red Flag of China, Haansoft of South Korea and Japan's Miracle Linux.

The consortium's products include Asianux 3.0, a Linux server product customized for the needs of Asian companies and governments, as well as Asianux Mobile Midinux, an operating system for mobile Internet devices using Intel's Atom processor.

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